The Pros and Cons of Using a Heated Towel Rail Element

What is a Heated Towel Rail Element?

Heated towel rail heating elements come in various styles, ranging from simple to more advanced models. A heated towel rail element allows you to convert your central heating towel rail into an electric towel rail which is particularly useful during the summer months or those spring mornings when the bathroom is chilly. Yet, there is not a need for the full central heating system to be turned on.

Kartell Dual Fuel 150 Watt Heating Element Anthracite

Electric heating elements typically consist of a coil with two wires attached, which transfer heat when electricity is passed through them. The heating element is a small device put inside the radiator or the heated towel rail. In addition, some dual-fuel electric and water heating elements can also include thermostatic controls for precise temperature adjustment and energy efficiency. Thermostatic elements are also known as variable heat elements, therefore allowing the temperature adjustment you would like to heat your electric towel rail up to.

When setting up your bathroom heating, you should decide whether you wish to opt for a dual-fuel set-up, in which you heat your bathroom with both the heated towel rail heating element & the central heating system. Or would you prefer to use the electricity to power the heated towel rail using an electric heating element?

What is a Heated Towel Rail?

A heated towel rail is an invaluable addition to the bathroom, providing heating and a place to hang wet towels. It works by using electricity or water (through the central heating system) to provide warmth, radiating from the rail's metal bars throughout the bathroom.

The temperature of a heated towel rail can be adjusted depending on individual preferences if you have a thermostatic radiator valve, allowing one to achieve optimum comfort. This not only provides a pleasant environment in which to bathe & shower but also prevents dampness and the growth of bacteria on towels. As a result, heated towel rails make an ideal choice for those looking to create a modern and luxurious bathroom space.

At ShowerstoYou, we offer an extensive catalogue of over 700 Heated Towel Rails, including popular curved heated towel rails and designer towel rails, with over half of these being suitable for dual-fuel options. For more information, see our buyer's guide on Heated Towel Rails.

Redroom TT Lux Blush Pink Heated Towel Rail

Redroom TT Lux Blush Pink

What is the difference between a Heated Towel Rail and a Radiator?

A radiator will provide a larger surface area for heating the air around it. Typically, radiators are connected to the home central heating system and are effectively heated by the use of a boiler & gas in the home; however, there are different fuel types when it comes to heating a radiator. (See our handy guide on Bathroom Heating). As a radiator has a larger surface area, the heat generated is much larger, therefore more effectively heating the surrounding air, hence the bathroom, eliminating cold spots and corners within the bathroom. The downside of a radiator is the wall space that it takes up in the bathroom and the limited towel hanging space. Sometimes people choose a towel rail over a radiator due to radiators looking a little “dull”; however, we do offer a huge collection of designer radiators. For more information on the types of Radiators available, we have a Radiators Buyer's Guide to help you decide.

A heated towel rail's main purpose in a bathroom is to warm and dry towels placed on it, and secondly used to heat the bathroom. Often bathrooms, cloakrooms or ensuites are smaller in size than all other rooms in the house, and therefore the bathroom heats quickly. Therefore, the need for a huge radiator isn’t as necessary as other rooms in the house. A heated towel rail provides the ability to dry several towels and heat the room simultaneously. Heated Towel Rails can also add that decorative design statement to your bathroom.

Scudo Elizabeth Designer Towel Radiator in Carbon Anthracite

Scudo Elizabeth Designer Towel Radiator in Carbon Anthracite

A dual-fuel heated towel rail is energy efficient when used in the summer months for warming & drying towels, as the central heating system can be switched off whilst switching the heated towel rail to electric. For a dual-fuel heated towel rail, a heated towel rail element is necessary.

Are Heated Towel Rails as Warm as Radiators?

The heat output of a heated towel rail depends mainly on the fuel method used, the type of electric element used, the size of the heated towel rail and the material of the rail. Electric elements are generally not as powerful as their hot water or steam counterparts, meaning they can produce less overall warmth. However, heated towel rails still need to be able to adequately warm up a bathroom space - when combined with central heating systems, one is still able to achieve an adequate level of comfort. Furthermore, many modern designs come with advanced features such as thermostatic controls, allowing precise and adjustable temperature control.

All Radiators and Heated Towel Rails feature a BTU (British Thermal Units) rating or a Wattage Rating. Depending upon the size of your bathroom depends on what BTU output you should look for. It is worth checking out our handy guide on What is a BTU?

Overall, while heated towel rails may not provide the same heat output as traditional radiators, they still offer an effective and convenient way to warm up bathroom space and, more conveniently, keep those towels warm and dry. With the help of advanced heating elements and thermostatic controls, one is still able to achieve an optimum level of comfort in their bathroom environment.

Kartell Malibu 1200 x 500mm Brushed Brass Heated Towel Rail

Are all Heated Towel Rails Dual Fuel?

Most heated towel rails are dual fuel, meaning they can be used with either electric heating elements or water (via the central heating system). This allows for flexibility in how the rail is powered, as the user can choose whichever option best meets their needs. The added advantage of a dual-fuel heated towel rail is that during the Spring and Summer months, once the central heating system is turned off, you can rely on the electricity to warm and dry towels whilst taking the chill off in the mornings.

In addition, dual fuel towel rails typically have an adjustable thermostat, allowing them to be used in both summer and winter. However, there are some heated towel rails that are only powered by electricity or the central heating system. Therefore, it is important to check the product specifications before purchasing a heated rail in order to ensure that the desired type of fuel power is available. Some of our most popular ranges of dual fuel options include the affordable yet stylish Scudo Towel Radiators, the extensive Reina Heated Towel Rail Collection and the designer & visually appealing Redroom Towel Radiators.

Why would I need an Electric Heating Element for my Heated Towel Rail?

Electric heating elements are a great addition to heated towel rails. They provide warmth and help keep your towels dry. They also have adjustable thermostats so you can set the temperature just right for your bathroom. Electric heating elements come in different styles, so you can choose one that fits your needs and style.

Do heated towel rails give out much heat?

Heated towel rails are a great way to provide warmth and comfort in the bathroom. The level of heat produced from a heated towel rail will depend on the size, finish, material and type of fuel that you use to heat the rail. For example, if you are using electricity, then it would depend on the type of heating element used, as well as the wattage rating of the element.

Generally speaking, a heated towel rail will produce less heat than a radiator; however, for the typical size of a bathroom, a heated towel rail will not only dry & warm towels but will also warm the bathroom to more than an adequate level. An advantage also is that a heated towel rail will warm quicker than a radiator, and when using an electric element, you are not relying on central heating to circulate the entire house.

When considering electrically heated towel rails, some models have adjustable thermostats which allow users to adjust the temperature to their desired level. Electric heating elements are typically rated at 120 watts or more, meaning they can generate enough heat to dry towels and warm up an entire bathroom effectively. Heated towel rails with higher wattage ratings will usually produce hotter temperatures than those with lower ratings. Furthermore, dual fuel heating elements that combine electric and water power are also available, giving users greater control over how much heat is generated from their heated towel rail.

Can you put a heating element in a towel rail?

Yes, it is possible to put a heating element in a towel rail. Depending on the type of heated towel rail you have, the installation process can vary slightly. For instance, dual fuel heated towel rails are designed to accommodate both electric and water-based elements, while other models may only be compatible with one type of heating element. In either case, most heated towel rails will include instructions for how to install the heating element properly.

Heating Element Fitted

Electric heating elements typically consist of a coiled wire that transfers heat when electricity passes through it. The wattage rating of these elements is important to consider - higher wattage ratings generate hotter temperatures than those with lower ratings. Also, dual fuel electric and water heating elements can feature adjustable thermostats for more precise control over temperature settings and energy efficiency.

In conclusion, installing a heating element in a towel rail is not difficult if you follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. The type of heated towel rail you have will determine which kind of heating element is required and how it needs to be installed correctly. Electric heating elements provide reliable warmth and comfort in any bathroom setting while also drying towels quickly and efficiently. Lastly, dual fuel elements combine both electric and water power in one unit for greater convenience and energy efficiency.

What are the benefits of electric towel warmers?

The benefits of electric towel warmers are numerous:

  1. They provide a hygienic and efficient way to keep towels warm and dry while providing a comfortable and luxurious feeling after bathing or showering.
  2. Electric towel warmers provide adjustable temperatures to set the exact temperature you need for your bathroom. With these settings, it is easy to maintain a consistent warmth without needing to adjust the temperature settings constantly. This helps make them energy efficient as well.
  3. Electric towel warmers are typically very safe to use since they generate less heat than many other heating elements. This makes them ideal for use in bathrooms with small children or elderly individuals.
  4. Electric towel warmers come in different shapes and sizes, so you can choose one that fits your décor perfectly.

What are the disadvantages of heating elements?

Despite their many benefits, installing an electric heating element into your towel warmers also has disadvantages. One of the biggest drawbacks is that these elements can be expensive to install since they require wiring and connections to an electrical panel or outlet. Furthermore, electric towel warmers tend to be less effective in larger bathrooms since the wattage rating may not be able to generate enough heat to dry towels or warm the entire space adequately. Lastly, electric heating elements generally don’t last as long as water-based models and need more frequent maintenance and replacement.

Elevated temperatures can also reduce the endurance of various circuit elements, further contributing to the risk of system failure or damage. In addition to these technical issues, heating elements can also consume significant amounts of energy if you opt for a larger Wattage element, which can ultimately lead to higher electricity bills. When considering these factors, it becomes clear that the use of heating elements can be detrimental to both the safety and efficiency of an electrical system.

Which heating element is most effective?

Electric heating elements are generally the most effective option when it comes to effectively heating a towel rail. This is because they generate direct heat that is quickly and evenly distributed throughout the towel rail. Additionally, electric heating elements have adjustable wattage ratings that can be adjusted depending on the size of the bathroom and the desired temperature settings. Furthermore, electric heating elements are usually more energy efficient than water-based models since they don’t require a pump or additional plumbing. See our guide for more tips for cutting the cost of your gas and utility bills when using your bathroom.Additionally, dual fuel electric and water heating elements offer even greater efficiency thanks to their adjustable thermostats that allow for precise temperature control. In summary, electric heating elements offer fast heat-up times and precise temperature control while also being energy-efficient and cost-effective in the long run.

What is the best wattage for a heated towel rail?

Reina Diva Flat Heated Towel Rails

The best wattage for a heated towel rail depends on the size of the bathroom and how much warmth is desired. Generally speaking, a towel rail with an electric heating element should be rated between 150 to 250 watts. This will provide enough heat to dry towels effectively and warm the entire bathroom.

Higher wattages can be used to warm larger rooms more quickly, but it is important to consider energy efficiency when choosing a model with higher wattage. Additionally, dual fuel elements allow for greater temperature control by combining both electric and water power in one unit. This allows users to adjust the temperature settings based on their needs while being more energy efficient than a single heating element.

If you're looking for a way to continue enjoying the comforts of heated towels during the summer months when your central heating is switched off, a 150 or 250-watt dual-fuel element kit may just be your solution.

These kits allow for the use of mains electricity to power your heated towel rail rather than relying solely on your central heating system. Not only does this offer a more convenient and flexible way to heat your towels year-round, but it can also help to save on your energy bills by using less power when compared to running your entire central heating system just to heat your towels.

With simple installation and easy-to-use controls, dual-fuel element kits present a practical, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly solution for those looking to keep their heated towel rails running even during summer months.

A good towel rail heating element should have the following properties:

  1. High electrical resistivity: A material with high electrical resistivity will produce more heat when an electric current is passed through it, making it an efficient heating element. This ensures that the material can convert electrical energy into thermal energy effectively.
  2. Thermal stability: A good heating element should be able to withstand high temperatures without degrading or losing its structural integrity. This means the material should have a high melting point and low thermal expansion coefficient, preventing it from breaking, warping, or becoming brittle over time.
  3. Good thermal conductivity: Efficient heat distribution is crucial for a heating element. A material with good thermal conductivity ensures that the heat generated is evenly distributed across the entire surface of the element, providing consistent heating performance and preventing hotspots that could cause uneven heating or damage to the surrounding components.

How do you know if a heating element is burnt out?

If the electric towel warmer isn’t producing heat, then it may be due to a faulty heating element. To check whether or not the element has burned out, simply use a multimeter to measure the element's resistance. If no reading shows up, then it means that the element has burned out and needs to be replaced. Additionally, if there is an unusual smell coming from the towel warmer, this could also indicate that the heating element is burnt out. In both cases, it is best to contact a professional for assistance in replacing or repairing your electric towel warmer.

How often do heating elements need to be replaced?

The frequency of replacing a heating element depends on the type and model of the electric towel warmer being used as well as how often it is used. Generally, most electric towel warmers will last up to 10 years before needing to be replaced. However, if you are using an older model or one that is regularly subjected to high temperatures, then it may need to be replaced more frequently. Also, dual-fuel models typically have longer lifespans due to their adjustable thermostats, allowing precise temperature control. Lastly, regular maintenance can help extend your heating element's life by ensuring it is always in good working condition.

What is the average cost to replace a heated towel rail dual fuel heating element?

The average cost to replace a dual fuel heating element for a heated towel rail can vary depending on the heating element's brand, model, and wattage, as well as labour costs in your area. Typically, the replacement heating element costs from £50 to £250 for the part itself.

Labour costs for professional installation can vary based on location and the job's complexity, but on average, it may range from £80 to £200 per hour. The entire process usually takes 1-2 hours to complete.

Keep in mind that these are general estimates, and actual costs may vary depending on your specific situation and local market conditions. Obtaining quotes from multiple professionals is always a good idea to get the most accurate pricing information.

Why buy a Heated Towel Rail Element from ShowerstoYou?

With our extensive range of heated towel rails and radiators, Showers to You caters for all bathroom heating requirements. With nearly four decades of industry experience, we have everything you need to help you make the right choice when choosing a fuel option for your home. See our Frequently Asked Questions about Radiators & Heated Towel Rails for further questions and answers to help you with your purchase today!

We offer a full manufacturer’s warranty on all of our products, giving you peace of mind while you shop. Shop our impressive range of dual-fuel heated towel rail elements today and find that Spring & Summer heating solution.

If you have any questions about a product, please contact us via email (, phone (01472 242 159), or via our online contact form.